Now, more than ever, it is vital to be able to personalise the customer experience, in order to increase your company’s wallet share.
Facing a severe economic downturn and rapidly rising inflation, organisations today understand the importance of customer acquisition and retention. Most companies are seeking to increase customer engagement and improve loyalty, by understanding their client requirements more completely. Greater personalisation of the customer journey should thus lead to increased sales.
In fact, personalisation has become a critical factor for modern customers, with an Accenture report suggesting that 91% are more likely to purchase from a brand that knows them and provides them with relevant recommendations and offers. Locally, the latest SA Digital Customer Experience Report indicates that some 96% of respondents would spend more money online if the customer experience (CX) was better. The challenge, of course, is how do you create a personalised customer experience across multiple digital channels?
According to Yaron Assabi, Founder and CEO of DigitalMall.com, a DSG Business, online retailers face a number of challenges, not the least of which is that many brands suffer from low customer engagement and retention.
‘While many customers may visit a website, studies suggest that around 98% leave without transacting in any way. This is a terrible ratio and businesses need to develop effective plans to improve on the existing 2% who do transact. For me, this means focusing on delivering the best CX possible,’ he said.
‘This is where technology comes into play, because organisations can leverage an AI engine to more clearly understand customers’ eyeball data – what products they are browsing or looking for – as well as their behavioural data, to deliver personalised predictions that are up to 20% more accurate.’
Assabi noted that those organisations that use technology in this manner, to differentiate the customer experience through personalisation, have experienced much faster growth, because personalisation encourages additional spend. This is particularly true for those businesses that deliver personalisation across the entire user journey, rather than simply on the home and product display pages – with conversion rates increasing by 12-18%.
‘In order to drive a better relationship with customers, it is important to identify the opportunities to personalise your service. Then you need to be able to rapidly activate and optimise these at scale. Data enablement is vital to enhance both personalisation and the customer journey, and surrounding it all, you need an agile operational model to accurately understand the customer and thus drive a more personal offering. Of course, in order to get customers to willingly provide you with personal data, you absolutely have to be compliant with the various data privacy laws.’
Nisham Chhabra, regional VP for Africa at Netcore, DSG’s AI partners, added that there is a fantastic return on investment (ROI) for businesses who invest in data driven personalisation.
‘For example, we can point to a 19% average uplift in sales from those using our solution to deliver personalised web experiences; a 20% increase in marketing ROI when data-driven personalisation is placed at the centre of the marketing strategy; and 78% of consumers indicating they are more likely to repeat purchases if the brand offers them personalised offers,’ he said.
Chhabra added that for the AI engine to be effective, it needs to understand the customer in real time, which means instantly recognising their likes and dislikes. To this end, he says that Netcore’s engine understands user behaviour such as the principle of swiping left or right, as popularised by sites like Tinder.
He suggested that the key to success lies in permission-based marketing, so it is all about getting the user to tell you about themselves, something that is significantly tougher at the start of the relationship.
‘It is imperative to put the data to proper use if customers have supplied personal data to help you make their lives easier. The more they can recognise that the data they have supplied makes their CX that much more pleasant, the more likely they are to be comfortable sharing additional data with you, enabling you to personalise the service even more.’
There are various stages of personalisation, continued Assabi, focusing on smaller groups of individuals each time, with the ultimate goal being a one-to-one connection. However, he noted, with AI-based personalisation, you can now drill down to what is called one-to-moment.
‘This is where geolocation services are used to identify not only the individual customer, but where they are, so that a specific offer can be sent to them based on where in a particular mall they are and delivering a level of personalisation heretofore unseen.’
In the end, he said, it is about personalising each touchpoint on the user journey, from the point they register on your website to the point where you have enough data on them to provide them with special offers or discounts on their birthday or other key anniversaries.
‘It is crucial to use an omnichannel platform for this, as you have to have a unified view of the customer to deliver this level of personalisation, so you need to be able to track your customer even if they utilise multiple channels during their journey.’
‘Lastly, you need to find a level of equilibrium between people, processes and the technology: You need the right balance between people who are focused on the customer and who understand the technology, supported by the right processes to enable you to be agile in meeting each individual customer’s needs. Get this right and you will increase your wallet share and grow your business,’ Assabi concluded.